“Mucus”…. it’s one of those words, right? But you’ve clicked on this blog, so we’re going to assume you’re ready to talk about it! So let’s get started.
Vaginal discharge is not something we are often taught about in school, or even something some of us will feel comfortable to discuss with our best friends… BUT it is SUCH a great tool to predict your ovulation and maximise your fertility.
Cervical mucus discharge is a NORMAL part of a woman’s menstrual cycle and should be nothing to be concerned about.
(Occasionally, there may be times when your discharge indicates a health concern. Please let your doctor know if you are experiencing any cervical mucus of an abnormal color or with a foul smell, or experience itching or redness.)
What’s so great about it?
Fertile cervical mucus tells you BEFORE you ovulate, letting you know that it’s time to start trying. Another benefit of cervical mucus at this time is that it’s very slippery, so not only acts as a natural lubricant but also the consistency and pH level can help the sperm pass through the cervix to achieve a pregnancy.
What am I looking for?
To predict ovulation, you are looking for cervical mucus that is stretchy, clear and shiny. You may have heard of it being described similar to that of the texture of raw egg white. This mucus is made higher up in the vagina and lets us know that ovulation will occur in the next few days. It’s giving you notice that it’s time to get the sperm to the egg. Given sperm can typically survive a number of days, this is your fertile window and the time to start trying.
When to look?
The best time to look is the 4 to 5 days leading up to your fertile window. In a 28 day cycle this is around day 10, however, if you have a longer or irregular cycle you’ll need to look at your body’s signals to understand when your fertile window is and adjust accordingly.
If your menstrual cycle is irregular in length, you will actually benefit most from this technique – as your ovulation is more difficult to predict when the length varies. However, it also means that you will have to pay a bit more attention. We would suggest monitoring your cervical mucus on a daily basis as soon as the bleed phase is complete.
The best time to check your cervical mucus at a time when you are not sexually aroused. This prevents you getting your body’s lubrication confused with your regular mucus. Other things to watch out for are artificial lubricants and spermicides (which we recommend avoiding if trying to conceive) and semen which can also affect your ability to assess your cycle’s fluids. Many of our clients (who are actively trying at this time) can initially find it tricky to differentiate between semen and their fertile cervical fluid. Our tip is to look for the stretchy egg white factor. Semen will typically break when stretched and is generally more opaque. Another important consideration is to ensure you are hydrated.
How do I look?
A simple way to check is to wipe yourself with a tissue, from front to back, and pay attention to how easily the tissue slides. You may also notice cervical mucus on the toilet paper or underwear leading up to your ovulation window, however, if you don’t, you may have to start paying more attention at this time.
If you are not noticing changes to mucus on wiping or underwear, you can gently place one or two clean fingers inside of the vagina and then observe the colour and texture of the mucus. Does it stretch between your thumb and finger? If the answer is yes, now (and the coming days) is the best time to be having sex.
If you are looking for more in-depth fertility advice, our acupuncturists have many years of experience helping people to conceive and would love to chat with you. Our fertility consultations include education around understanding these aspects of your body, dietary and lifestyle advice and, of course, your acupuncture treatment. We love our job and are very happy to chat to you about any aspect of your fertility journey.
Give us a call on 0466 331 737 if you would like to know more.